Walter C. Soderlund: Professor Emeritus, University of Windsor
Media Coverage of the Congo Wars and Darfur Compared: Why Did the Media Fail the Congo?
Professor Soderlund will discuss the various factors underlying the gap in media coverage between the conflicts in Darfur and the Congo, and in so doing assess the role of media in creating “a will to intervene” on the part of the international community in what might perceived to be “far off” humanitarian crises.
Although neither conflict is fully resolved, associated death tolls are estimated to be as high as 5 million for the Congo, as opposed to between 300,000 and 450,000 for Darfur. At the same time estimates point to far greater western media coverage of Darfur. Over a six year period (2003 - 2008) Darfur had four times more coverage on United States television than that of the Congo. In newspaper coverage of Darfur there was also more “advocacy” for international intervention than seen in the Congo coverage. While not the sole factor, media did play a significant role in the formation of the Save Darfur Coalition, one of the largest citizen advocacy groups in recent memory.
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